Appropriating the Exotic: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives

A symposium at the Sainsbury Research Unit
University of East Anglia, Norwich
Friday 8th and Saturday 9th October 2010
In human societies, past and present, many kinds of objects, materials, people and technologies have been viewed as powerful or imbued with extraordinary qualities because of their perceived foreign or external origins. Equally common is the attempt to seize upon or control this power of the external, for example through the acquisition of objects in long-distance trade, the representation of the foreign in the arts, and in public displays. This two-day symposium brings together internationally renowned scholars to discuss case studies with considerable historical and regional scope that involve such appropriations of the exotic. Maintaining that the exotic is a dynamic and relational, rather than inherent, quality, speakers will address the historical and cultural circumstances under which particular external phenomena come to be seen as exotic, and how and why the manipulation of their material and visual qualities make appropriation ‘work.’
Speakers include:
Colin Renfrew (Cambridge University)
Mary W. Helms (University of North Carolina, Greensboro)
Charlotte Townsend-Gault (University of British Columbia)
Jessica Rawson (University of Oxford)
Debra Strickland (University of Glasgow)
Steven Hooper (Sainsbury Research Unit)
George Lau (Sainsbury Research Unit)
The delegate fee is £30 and £20 for students. Advance registration is required. Pre-registration forms, details of the symposium programme and abstracts can be found on the Sainsbury Research Unit website:
For further information please contact symposium organisers: Bodil Birkebæk Olesen Fiona Sheales or the symposium administrator Lynne Crossland